Think of Timothée Chalamet in Dune as Space Michael Corleone, Says Director

Director Denis Villeneuve is priming fans for "Dune," and doesn't want you to think of Timothée Chalamet's character as a classic hero.

Juergen Teller

For some, the upcoming film Dune will be visionary director Denis Villeneuve’s attempt to craft a proper version of a classic sci-fi novel that some said could never truly be filmed.

For others, it’s just the big space movie starring Timothée Chalamet and Zendaya.

Appealing to multiple potential audience pools is smart marketing for a film of this scope (the Hollywood trades haven’t reported the budget, but it certainly wasn’t cheap). Though, it could also be something of a risk. More casual fans aren’t sure what they’re in for, and may be turned off if not properly primed.

So, Villeneuve, unsurprisingly, is here to help guide you into the actual plot.

In fact, he thinks the easiest way to think of the film’s basic premise is that Timmée’s character, Paul Atreides, is basically a space version of Michael Corleone from The Godfather trilogy. Well, sort of.

“Paul has been raised in a very strict environment with a lot of training, because he’s the son of a Duke and one day…he’s training to be the Duke,” Villeneuve told Empire magazine. “But as much as he’s been prepared and trained for that role, is it really what he dreams to be? That’s the contradiction of that character. It’s like Michael Corleone in The Godfather—it’s someone that has a very tragic fate and he will become something that he was not wishing to become.”

So Luke Skywalker, the space protagonist who was raised on a back-world farm to think he wasn’t much of anything at all, only to find out he was the savior of the universe, Timothée’s character is decidedly not. In fact, (and we’re sure the Dune producers probably hate the idea of pushing the Star Wars corollaries too hard), he might be have a little bit more in common with Adam Driver’s Kylo Ren.

Though, Al Pacino’s Corleone is probably a better parallel. They’re born into a family with a messy legacy and are wary of their predecessor’s actions, and, yet, youthful ambition and skills still push them forward.

It’s also a clever way to market the film. The Godfather was a hugely successful franchise that didn’t break down along neat lines of good vs. bad, and the hope would be that Dune will as well.

Related: Timothée Chalamet Is Playing Bob Dylan, But Here Are Some Other Roles We’d Rather See Him Fill